Touch, Touch, Remove

Andrea Avidad

A collage of images, 1. A woman breathing into a strange device, 2. hands touching sand at the beach, 3. outline of a circle flows on a square that shows white and grey pixels, 4. A tattooed arm

A noun and a verb; an action which is also a being acted upon: ‘touch’ brings the body into audibility. To address the issue of touch is to perform a theoretical-bodily gesture: one that opposes perspectives conceptualizing a body that is not one, a body that tends to evacuate its corporeality out of itself. This digital archive touches on the body and touches the body. The project examines the question of ‘touch’ in the social contexts that have emerged in the face of Covid-19. Even though our bodies have been locked in our homes and our movements have been severely reduced, surveilled, and governed, our hands have continued to touch. We have been touching the dishes we clean in our homes, our phone screens, our keyboards, our dogs, our hair, our skin, our blankets. Beyond the realm of a phenomenology of the corporeal, we also have touched on difficult subject matters, on topics such as intimacy, loneliness –and death. In encountering the violent disruption of our everyday life, we have touched our own fears. In sensing the physical absence, or heavily mediated presence, of the other, we have also touched various styles of absence-presence-absence. Thus, the project places ‘touch’ in relation to a series of affiliated terms, including contact, proximity, distance, and remove. I play with the visual codes of the public and the private in order to touch on the embodiment and performance of a (mediated) ‘self’. I also reflect on hyper-mediated experiences, ‘direct’ experience, ideas of nature (in particular, nature in relationship to the gendered body), and the blurring of the boundaries between the biological corpus and media devices through the conceptual figure of touch.